So I took notice when I was at a haunted attraction in Central Pennsylvania in October, and passed a stand that was selling some REALLY cool-looking masks.
Obviously, some real skill had gone into designing and making the masks. But it wasn’t just that they were well-made. The things were genuinely spooky-looking.
The guy who’d made them was at the next booth over, wearing an awesome costume that consisted of a gory pig mask, a bloody butcher’s apron and a cleaver clutched in his hand. People were paying to get their picture taken with him.
I guessed – correctly, as it turned out – that he must be a pretty interesting guy.
His name is Steve Steele, and he runs his business called Lot 27 FX in his spare time. I’ve wanted to profile the business for a while, and Steve graciously agreed to answer some questions for me.
I’ll post some photos. I wish I could post a picture of every one of his masks, because every one of them is SO freakin cool! Do yourself a favor and check out his Facebook page here:
On with the Q&A:
Q: What’s your name?
A: Steve Steele
Q: What town are you based in?
A: Gettysburg, Pa
Q: Could you give a brief description of Lot 27 FX and Massacred Memories? Lot 27 FX was born from my interest in masked metal bands such as Slipknot and Mushroomhead. From there we moved towards haunt actor masks after becoming a queue line actor at the local haunt. We hit it off really well with the haunt and were asked to develop a photo booth. Of course I went totally overboard with the idea since I never do just enough to get by. So Massacred Memories became a showcase for my work. We took a couple inspirations and threw them together for the butchers. Added props and really let the people tell us how they saw themselves in a horror scene being “slaughtered.” Not everyone that came shared our love for gore, so we incorporated some “cheesy” shots without the blood. It’s all good and we feel confident that we will be the first thing on their mind next haunt season. New victims are nice but our return victims are really fun to work with. They come ready with props, costumes, ideas we just set the stage for them .
Q: How can people get in touch with you if they want to buy your masks? Do you have a Website where people can view your catalog?
A: Currently we just made a move and we are regrouping so everything is done over the Facebook sites. Facebook hasn’t been the nicest to page owners so a site is in the near future. The masks can all be seen there. A catalog is in the making also.
Q: Is this a full-time or part-time gig? If it’s the latter, what’s your full-time job?
A: It’s still considered a hobby for me. Keeps my costs low and affordable to kids and haunt owners. I have a couple haunted attractions that I work with and these guys show my stuff off great so I try to take good care of them. My day job is nothing to brag about. LOL. I just tell a large group of guys what to do and hand out the lashings.
Q: When did you start, and what’s the scale of the operation now?
A: Guess we got going in 07. Massacred Memories is just that….massacred. Think we are into our 4th year but my math is horrible.
Q: Do you have some formal art and/or special effects training, or are you totally self-taught?
A: Mostly self taught but I do not hold back on asking questions when given the chance. “The only stupid question is the one not asked” right? When I get to meet an accomplished FX artist, or any artist for that matter, people want to share. All you have to do is ask. From sculpting to painting I’ve had a lot of advice and criticism from some pretty big league FX artist.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for masks?
A: Bad childhood. JOKE!! Silly as it is I am nothing like the butcher or Massacred Memories. I am a pretty happy guy that has an eye for the creepy. I research many things. Sometimes just take two ideas and mash them up. Sometimes I’ve seen texture in tree bark, broken rocks and broken parts at work. Other times I just follow the trends set by Hollywood that year. Loads of horror movies over and over help. Music drives so much mood and attitude. I am not above just throwing things at clay until the right thing happens.